1 March 2021

Considerations when adopting Recipes & Menus


This document is for clients who wish to centrally manage outlet recipes, so they can create a recipe bank of costed dishes, deliver searchable recipe cards for customer allergen and nutrition queries, integrate with Epos in order to calculate the Theoretical margins, and provide menu management.  Outlets can view the recipes in ‘read only’ mode that have been allocated to them.    This describes the default Head Office managed Recipe Manager – an alternative mode for ‘outlet managed’ recipes is also available.


The IndiCater Recipe & Menu module is used by different hospitality clients in a variety of ways, and to accommodate their different ways of working for each client we have over the years created a range of different set ups, options and rules within a default ‘off the shelf’ application.

Ensuring we identify and set the right configuration for each client therefore requires a detailed conversation so we can understand the client’s business, their resources, and what is most important to them in their use of recipes.  Each sector requires a slightly different approach so that, for example, our solution for Care Homes would be configured differently than for say Restaurants or Hotels.

Key Considerations:

Is a central recipe bank suitable for your business or do you need to consider the locally managed version?

Is your requirement just to cost recipes so you can identify the correct selling price?

Are recipes currently centrally costed or will this be a new task?

How important is the facility to identify the theoretical cost of sales and profit?

Do all outlets pay the same price for the same product?

How important is a tool to provide accurate allergen compliance?

Do you need to change selling prices if costs go up or do you fix prices for, say, a season?

Do you have the same PLU for the same product in all outlets (if integrating with Epos)?



Recipe Costing

Recipes can be created to form a Recipe Bank by a Head Office Gatekeeper and allocated to Outlets or Brands.

Recipes can only be populated with products (ingredients) that are part of an approved supplier catalogue. Changes to cost prices by suppliers are approved in the Head Office Catalogue Approval dashboard with a defined Activation Date, which when that date arrives will automatically update all the product costs in all recipes.

These product price changes also trigger an email alert that lists all the recipes that have been effected by any product cost change or any discontinued products; this data is also provided in an attached Excel.

Any products the systems identifies as discontinued by a supplier (i.e. they do not appear on the latest catalogue but did appear on a previous catalogue), are highlighted as such in each recipe with an * and also in the recipe changes alert email.

When a user wants to change a single supplier product in multiple recipes at the same time they would use the Product Switch tool.

Where a supplier pack size does not reflect how a user works in practice (i.e. buying a loaf of bread, but adding a slice to a recipe), there is an Alternative Pack Size tool that is available in the recipe builder.

Multiple recipes can be viewed in a single Margins report in order to see the theoretical gross margin for a set of recipes with a quantity of one portion for each recipe.  The same report can also be viewed with the theoretical volumes for each recipe, and if desired, the theoretical selling price per recipe.

Recipe Information

The user can enter information in each recipe such as Cooking Method, Notes, Critical Control Points, Quality Checks and Specification.  If you end up entering the same information in lots of recipes there is head office Template tool.

Documents can be uploaded to individual recipes such as Point of Sale material that a user can print off.

Up to four pictures can be uploaded to each recipe – these appear on printable recipe cards.

The number of portions can be set for each recipe and the user would then set the ingredients quantities to provide a dish for that number of portions.

The reference field in each recipe should be the actual epos reference as this will be used if there is an Epos integration.


Each ingredient/product in each recipe can be set with its own yield percentage and there is an alternative cooking method selector for each ingredient that will adjust the nutrition content based on the cooking method selected.

‘Local’ Recipe Data

By default, all selling prices are set for all Outlet’s but a local price can be allocated to one or more outlets.

Recipes can be viewed on screen or in a PDF of one or multiple recipe cards, with the content determined in a report wizard.

Creating and using Menus

Menus can be created from a collection of recipes.  When a recipe is tagged to a menu it brings with it all the cost, allergen and nutrition data for that recipe.

Menus can be created by Outlet or by Brand, in Head Office or Outlet mode.

Product control can be managed by entering the forecasted sales quantity per menu item in order to view the weeks menu cost and profit forecast.

Benefit of trading up to an Epos Integrations

There is an API that can be licensed to allow Epos companies to transmit their customers sales into IndiCater.  This imports the item-by-item sales and calculates the theoretical cost of sale for each recipe based on the actual sales volume.  This in turn allows the theoretical gross profit to be calculated, and also identifies each product that has not achieved the desired margin.

The Reference field in each recipe is used to map with the Epos PLU (Price Look Up) reference (sometimes called an SKU).

There is also an upgrade that allows IndiCater to be the Master for PLU creation, i.e. the user can create the PLU in each recipe and IndiCater can transmit this data to the epos terminals.

Allergen Management

The application is designed to display allergen and dietary data at the top of each Recipe Dish Card so that a user responding to a customer query can do a live search for a recipe (say on a tablet at the point of service) and instantly give the customer that information.  Allergen reports can also be created and printed to display at the point of service.

Allergens per product/ingredient are submitted by suppliers as part of their catalogue upload for each of our clients with up to 32 allergens captured.  The allergen fields in the catalogue uploads are compulsory (though they can select ‘N/A’ for items such as disposables).

Any changes to allergens in a product are highlighted in the Head Office Catalogue Approval dashboard, and automatically update the recipes once that catalogue is approved.


Clients must communicate direct with their suppliers if they have any queries on the data that the supplier has uploaded.

Some Clients review and verify the allergens in a new recipe; for this purpose, there is an Allergens Checked tick box next to each product within a recipe – see column ‘A’ in the example below:

A key consideration is how you will expect your Outlet staff to communicate allergen data to customers.  Will this be by, say, a tablet at the point of service where the staff enter a search for the recipe that the customer is querying allergens for, or do you require Point of Sale display cards to be printed for each sale item defining allergens (templates can be developed bespoke for each client) or do you want menus with allergens published on your website (this is also possible through IndiCater).

Other upgrade options

  • Use of client’s own names for products, mapped to supplier product names
  • Display of nutritional data in each recipe

Roadmap developments

  • Step by step method graphics
  • Display graphic thumbnails in search results list of recipes
  • Random dish selector for all reports
  • Advanced menu engineering tools
  • Enhanced online recipe book screen display
  • Chef’s menu ideas sharing forum